Ultimate Guide to Kyoto, Japan

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

When I'm asked about my favorite place to visit in Asia, Japan takes the cake. Home to some of the most friendly people on planet earth with some of the best food you could ever have, there are few things to not love about Japan. I had the opportunity to visit Kyoto in February of 2018 and have not shut up about it since then. Find my post on Tokyo below or right here!

I know that none of us are traveling right now, and that SUCKS. Truly within the last several weeks, it feels like we are right back in March, where we started this year of chaos. However, I'd love to create a little escapism for you all with some past travels that could propel you into your travel planning in 2021.

If this is something you like (or don't like! I'd love constructive criticism), please let me know via email or in the comments below :) Now, let's get into chatting about Kyoto, my favorite city in Japan.

How I Structure Itineraries

When planning a trip and writing these posts, I like to create "bucket lists," more so than a day by day itinerary. I usually base my writing off my personal experiences as opposed to a place I did not visit, although I do sometimes include places I did not go. However, I will always include a "where to stay" section to ensure the best lodging options!

I tend to vary more on the "type B" personality when it comes to travel, which shocks most people as in real life, I am 100% type A. Travel allows me to let go of plans and go with the flow, but I like to have an idea of places, restaurants, etc. to visit beforehand. I will be writing a whole post on how I plan itineraries soon, but I wanted to share this before we jump in!

Where to Stay

As you know, I am a big fan of Airbnb and utilize it for most trips. We stayed at this spot in the Kameicho area, which was affordable and did not have the frills as we knew we would not be in our place for 85% of our stay. I also love this traditional-style stay, and for a more luxurious option, the Amber House looks to be beautiful! I would suggest staying closer to downtown Kyoto for the most central location.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

When I first started to research Japan, this was a place high atop my bucket list. I pictured myself walking shamelessly through this sprawling bamboo forest, coffee in hand, snapping all kinds of photos, which is precisely what happened in the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. To get here from Kyoto, take the JR Sagano Line to JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, which is about 20 minutes, and walk about 10 minutes to the entrance. If you take anything away from this article, get there EARLY. I was still insanely jet-lagged, so we arrived close to 7:30 am, and it was well worth it to beat the crowds!

Monkey Park Iwatayama